The production version of the Maserati Levante, formerly known as the Maserati Kubang, is still going to be a thing. Back in 2011 at the Detroit Auto Show, plenty of people were up in arms about the prospect of a Maserati SUV, let alone one that would share pieces of Jeep Grand Cherokee and be built in Detroit. A lot's changed since 2011.
The first was the name, when Maserati said in 2012 it wouldn't be calling it the Kubang, but the Levante. Then last fall, it was confirmed it wouldn't be built in the U.S., but in Turin like other Maseratis, thanks to a labor deal.
Is that enough to soften the blow of a Maserati SUV? It should be. Even the Porsche Cayenne, a Levante rival, hasn't been blessed with a car platform and that hasn't hurt its prestige. And the Macan's Audi-derived base apparently hasn't hobbled its performance abilities.
Of course, this is all going to come down to the way the production Levante looks, drives and feels when it goes on sale... eventually. But as a more exclusive competitor to the Cayenne and Range Rover Sport, it won't have Jeep roots to drag down its reputation – no matter how good those roots would've been.